Pope, Religious Leaders Pray for Peace and Greater Care for Each Other

Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Muslim, Jewish and other religious leaders attend an encounter to pray for peace in Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome Oct. 20, 2020. (CNS photo/Paul Haring

ROME (CNS) — The only way to end war and ensure humanity’s survival is “through encounter and negotiation, setting aside our conflicts and pursuing reconciliation, moderating the language of politics and propaganda, and developing true paths of peace,” Pope Francis said.

The pope, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and an international array of other Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Buddhist leaders gathered on Rome’s Capitoline Hill Oct. 20 to affirm their community’s commitment to peace, dialogue, fraternity and assistance to the poor and needy.

Before coming together to make their peace pledge, the religious leaders gathered with members of their own faith families to pray, focusing on the theme, “No one is saved alone: Peace and fraternity.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BOSTON PILOT

Remembering lives lost: Interfaith virtual memorial service honors COVID-19 victims

The numbers appear mind-numbing. More than 100,000 deaths in the United States alone.

Nearly 350,000 worldwide.

A local group aims to find a way to bring those statistics to a more personal level and take a moment to ache for all who have died from COVID-19 in the pandemic.

The four-member Columbus Interfaith, plus four other local houses of worship, will join in hearts to remember and honor the world’s COVID-19 victims in a virtual service via Zoom to be posted online Sunday.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE REPUBLIC (INDIANA)

An overlooked answer to COVID-19

A global day of prayer on May 14 reflected an upsurge of prayer as a healing response to the coronavirus.

1102258_1_prayer_standardOf all the responses to the coronavirus, one of the most overlooked by journalists and national leaders has been prayer. Yet take note: On May 14, tens of thousands of Christians, Muslims, and Jews around the world held a day of prayer for healing. It was sponsored by a newly formed interfaith group called the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity.

“Let us face this challenge with patience and composure,” said Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a mass prayer service in his Asian nation on Thursday. “Panic is half of the disease, equanimity is half of a cure, and patience determines recovery.”

Or note a day of prayer held in Israel April 22. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Druze religious leaders gathered online to lead people in their respective prayers. Or note a day of interfaith prayer in the Philippines April 8 to address the virus crisis.

In the United States, the National Day of Prayer, held every year on the first Thursday in May, focused this year on helping Americans cope with COVID-19. At the local level, interfaith groups have also held days of prayer – on Facebook, Zoom, or similar online platforms.

During the COVID-19 emergency, “Americans have become significantly more likely to say that religion is increasing its influence on American life,” according to the results of a mid-April Gallup Poll. A March survey by Pew Research Center found 24% of Americans say their faith has become stronger while 55% said they had prayed for an end to the spread of the coronavirus.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR 

‘Day of Prayer’ sees humanity united in the fight against Covid-19

The Day of Prayer for Humanity unfolds as more than 4.3 million people across the globe have now been infected with Covid-19 since an outbreak was first reported in China’s Hubei province late last year.

COVID PRAYERBy Vatican News

More than 303,000 people have officially died from the infection, and experts have issued dramatic forecasts regarding the aftermath of the pandemic that has devastated economies and left millions without a job.

A vast chorus of diverse voices across the world has expressed its support and confirmed its participation in this unique ‘Day of Prayer for Humanity’.

They are Christians and Muslims, Hindus and Jews, Jains, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics.

They are uniting – in the words of Pope Francis – “as brothers and sisters, to ask the Lord to save humanity from the pandemic, to enlighten scientists and to heal the sick”.

The call for this day of prayer came from the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity which was established last August a few months after Pope Francis’s Apostolic Visit to the United Arab Emirates.  He expressed his support for it during his Regina Coeli Address on 3 May, pointing out the universality of prayer.

“Remember”, he said, “on 14 May, all believers together, believers of different traditions, pray, fast, and perform works of charity” imploring the Lord to save humanity from the pandemic.

The Committee meanwhile has launched the hashtag #PrayForHumanity to help people feel united and religious leaders across the faith spectrum have organised events and reached out on social media.

Individuals and communities are doing their thing in many ways and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has been actively promoting the event.

Among those known to be adhereing to the ‘Day of Prayer for Humanity’ are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Center for Interreligious Dialogue in Iran, the Islam Adyan Foundation, the World Jewish Congress, the Institute of Jainology, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the World Council of Churches, as well as Buddhist representatives, and Hindu spiritual leaders.

FULL ARTICLE FROM VATICAN NEWS 

National Day of Prayer features Latter-day Saints, evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims, Jews and Hindus

“We are united in prayer today to ask a special blessing of deliverance, deliverance from this pandemic that has covered the earth in a devastating sickness,” said Debbie Marriott Harrison

prayerSALT LAKE CITY — It was obvious the 2020 National Day of Prayer was different a few hours before the representatives of six faiths offered prayers in an eerily empty White House Rose Garden on Thursday.

Each arrived alone, took a rapid COVID-19 test and wore masks, said Debbie Marriott Harrison, who prayed on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other men and women represented evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims, Jews and Hindus.

Each sat separated from the others in an awkward-looking formation of folding chairs. The chairs were spread apart across the lawn of the Rose Garden, which normally is packed shoulder-to-shoulder for the event. Even after Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, stood together and prayed at the podium, they sat in chairs separated for social distancing.

The pandemic also dominated the comments and prayers.

“In recent weeks and days, our country has endured a grave hardship,” President Donald Trump said during the ceremony.

“I ask all Americans to join their voices and their hearts in spiritual union as we ask our Lord in heaven for strength and solace, for courage and comfort, for hope and healing, for recovery and for renewal,” he said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DESERET NEWS 

NEWS/GCC Prayers restricted across Middle East amid coronavirus fears

9b88adceaf714e0281e30f4e757686d9_18Religious authorities across the Middle East have moved to cancel or limit weekly prayer gatherings to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

In Kuwait on Friday, religious authorities asked Muslims to pray at home as the Gulf states stepped up measures to fight the spread the novel virus.

In Jerusalem, Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders said services would continue to be held in the Holy Land but moved to limit indoor gatherings after the Israeli Health Ministry said they should not exceed 100 people.

More:

The Islamic endowment that oversees the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, said Friday prayers would be held as normal but encouraged people to pray in the outer courtyards and refrain from crowding inside the mosques.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA 

‘It’s fun – everyone is different’: the Jewish school that unites all faiths

At a primary school in London, children from Jewish, Muslim, Christian and no-faith backgrounds learn about cultural diversity and tolerance ‘through a Jewish lens’

5589Samuel’s favourite Jewish festival is Pesach, or Passover, which commemorates the exodus of Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The 10-year-old enjoys taking part in the seder, or ritual feast, which marks the start of the holiday. “The food is nice, and we sing songs and tell stories,” he said.

This is unusual because Samuel comes from a Colombian Christian family. He and dozens of other non-Jewish children attend an orthodox Jewish school in north London, where he wears a kippah, learns Hebrew and says Jewish prayers day.

“If you teach non-Jewish children about the Jewish faith, they’re likely to have a positive attitude later in life,” headteacher Gulcan Metin-Asdoyuran – who is from a Turkish Muslim background – told the Observer.

The school, which is affiliated to the United Synagogue, a union of modern orthodox synagogues in the UK, is split almost equally between Jewish and non-Jewish pupils. Among the non-Jews are Christians, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses and children of no faith. The teaching and support staff are equally diverse.

Head teacher Gulcan Metin Asdoyuran
Pinterest
 Head teacher Gulcan Metin Asdoyuran, who is of Turkish Muslim heritage. Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Observer

Alongside the national curriculum, the 117 pupils have two hours of Jewish studies each week. They learn about other faiths “through a Jewish lens”, said the head, who is known as Ms Metin. They recently visited a mosque; trips to a Buddhist temple and a Sikh gurdwara are planned. The school uniform includes kippot for boys and modest dress for girls; they eat kosher food; repeat Jewish blessings through the day; celebrate Jewish holidays; and finish early on Fridays ahead of Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN (UK)

Indian protesters hold interfaith prayers at Shaheen Bagh

indian protestsAnti-CAA demonstrators from all faiths pray for withdrawal of law and communal amity at women-led epicentre of protests.

New Delhi, India – A Hindu priest lights up a sacred fire and chants from his scriptures, surrounded under a large tent by dozens of Muslim women, some sporting vermillion on their foreheads – a gesture of reverence usually displayed by the Hindus.

The priest was participating in an interfaith prayer ceremony held on Thursday at New Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood in India‘s capital, where an all-women sit-in has turned into the epicentre of nationwide protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The CAA fast tracks Indian nationality for non-Muslims from three Muslim-majority neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – who came to India before 2015.

Opposition parties and critics say the CAA violates India’s secular constitution by making religion a marker of citizenship, and have challenged the law in the Supreme Court.

Faced with an ongoing National Population Register (NPR) and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) across India, Muslims, who form 15 percent of India’s 1.3 billion population, fear the steps are aimed at marginalising them.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA

Australia bushfire: Muslims, Christians pray together for rain

khaleejtimes - photos

The Australia bush fire from space.

FULL PHOTO ESSAY FROM THE KHALEEJ TIMES 

THANKSGIVING PRAYERS 2019: PRAYERS FROM CHRISTIANITY, JUDAISM, ISLAM AND OTHER RELIGIONS

Thanksgiving is one of the few major American holidays that cannot be traced back to a particular religious tradition. However, the values Thanksgiving celebrates—the importance of family and friends, the comfort of home and a spirit of gratitude—are shared across most of the world’s major faiths.

Here are prayers from several of the world’s largest religious traditions for the holiday.

Saying grace
A meal-time prayer.GETTY

Buddhism

The following prayer, whose author is unknown, comes from the Buddhist tradition, according to the Jesuit Resource’s multi-faith Prayer Index. While not explicitly connected to the secular holiday, the sentiments expressed make it an appropriate reflection for Thanksgiving.

Meal Time Prayer

This food is the gift of the whole universe,
Each morsel is a sacrifice of life,
May I be worthy to receive it.
May the energy in this food,
Give me the strength,
To transform my unwholesome qualities
into wholesome ones.
I am grateful for this food,
May I realize the Path of Awakening,
For the sake of all beings.

The joys and pains of all beings
are present in the gift of this food.
Let us receive it in love
and gratitude…

And in mindfulness of our sisters and brothers
among living beings of every kind
who are hungry or homeless,
sick or injured,
or suffering in any way.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NEWSWEEK